By Jane Lee Wolfe
The title of this article makes you want to skip it. We’re going to hear about how we should take time to be with God, or rest, or enjoy ourselves, or be kind to others, or somehow “be” more whole and better than we are. Ugh.
Already screwed before we begin.
It’s more a minor exploration on why we use this tool in the first place. How did it get to be so essential to our being? Why is it still around? No replacement? Why is the only new-and-improved version the atomic clock counting our lives in ever smaller increments of time? It’s 11:42a.m. Very specific. We can get it even more specific –11:42:35. Or even further into milliseconds etc. if you wish.
How did it get to be so essential to our being? Why is it still around?
One of my grandfather’s favorite stories was of the time he encountered a man with his hog on a leash. This was how the man saw to feeding his pig: leash it up, take it where the food is. “Doesn’t that take quite a lot of time?” my grandfather said. “What’s time to a hog?” the man replied.
What can we say?
For sure Time originated as a white-folks disorder though it copycats easily. Many indigenous populations around the globe refer to WMT when it comes to rushing, and scurrying around, getting places “on time,” and generally letting the clock set the dynamic for living.
We treat Time like an idol made of fabric or something; and we try very hard to see how much we can stuff into it so it sits upright and acts like a good, happy God we can be proud of! See if you can stuff in one more activity, one more good deed, one more hour of sleep, one more half-hour on the parking meter, one more achievement, one more quality moment with whomever, one more sale, one more gym time, on and on.
We treat Time like an idol made of fabric. We try very hard to see how much we can stuff into it so it sits upright and acts like a good, happy God we can be proud of.
Result: The Time bear is full! Great! But wait! There is little more room down at the bottom of his foot!
What would happen if we went the other way and took the stuffing out of the Time bear so instead of a God, Time was simply a soft fabric to sit on. What would that look like? Feel like? Be like? What’s time to a hog? What’s time to a human being if it’s only a piece of fabric to rest on?
A nice place. What about money? What about food? Clothing? Shelter? Maybe we’d better stuff the Time bear after all. This is crazy!
Wonder if we rested on our comfy fabric of Time, someone would come along, leash us up, and take us where there’s food and water aplenty, friends, safety and other folks too. Then take us home again.
“Doesn’t that take quite a lot of time?” The angel said to God. “What’s time to a human being?” God replied.
Jane Lee Wolfe is a parishioner of St. James-Woodstock, Vt. and Director of Bog Chapel, Inc., an educational not-for-profit organization that focuses on the spiritual health and spiritual fitness of human beings, from youth through old age.